What is Intuitive Eating?
I still ponder this question and wonder if there will ever be a definite answer or one simple sentence to define Intuitive Eating. Of course, there is a simple definition to be able to describe this philosophy, but to the many women, and myself who are on their own individual journey towards authentic health, intuitive eating is so much more.
The idea of intuitive eating or “eating intuitively” was originally co- founded by Elyse Resch, MS, RD, CEDRD and Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD in their revolutionary book “Intuitive Eating” (you can find the link to their website below), however intuitive eating is more than a coined philosophy. Intuitive eating is the process of being in touch in your body and discovering authentic nourishment. You may have heard of it referred to as the non diet approach. It is the process of clearing out the clutter of diet culture, nutrition myths and negative self talk to reach a peaceful relationship with food based on internal hunger and satiety cues and choosing food that is satisfying, nourishing and allows us to trust our bodies. While this might seem like a simple idea, our diet obsessed, thin idealizing culture has convinced us to mistrust our bodies and subsequently has led us to a culture of chronic dieting, body image issues, disordered eating, and eating disorders.
A snapshot of the philosophy of Intuitive Eating can be seen in the “10 Principles of Intuitive Eating” below, however, if you or a loved one is struggling with their relationship with food or eating, I highly recommend seeking out professional, caring support, reading the Intuitive Eating novel and plenty of prayer.
The principles below are directly from the Intuitive Eating website. I’ll be going into more depth about each principle to help you identify these principles in your own relationship with food at a later time on my blog!
Ten Principles of Intuitive Eating:
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Respect your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Honor your Feelings without using Food
8. Respect your Body
9. Exercise- Feel the Difference
10. Honor your Health
These principles help heal individuals of all backgrounds heal their relationship with food and move towards a realistic, authentic approach towards gentle nutrition and movement. This approach is often the end goal for individuals who engage in chronic dieting, disordered eating, eating disorders as well as those with chronic health issues. An intuitive eater is defined as “ a person who makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasures of eating.” Sounds lovely doesn’t it?
Few of us, particularly women, are immune to experiencing guilt for eating a slice of chocolate cake or pizza. Many of us believe that our food choices reflect who we are morally or ethically. We are trained to believe that we are “undisciplined or bad” for choosing foods that bring us satisfaction and pleasure. While yes, some foods are nutritionally superior to others, all food provides some form of nourishment and can fit. Learning to identify judgement that comes from outside sources can help you relinquish guilt and frustration around your food choices and lead you to eliminating “food worry”.
I hope this blog can help you identify what a health relationship with food might look like for you and prompts you to learn more about Intuitive Eating.
For further growth, check out the link below and complete the following growth exercise.
How would you describe your current relationship with food?
From reading about Intuitive Eating above, what sparks emotion? (Identify these feelings; i.e “I feel guilty around food, or I constantly eat past the point of fullness”)
What might you envision a nourishing relationship with food to look like?
In Goodness, Health & Wholeness,
Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole.
To learn more about Intuitive Eating, please visit www.intuitiveeating.org